Emirates and flydubai resume flights over Iraqi airspace

Announcements come two days after the Iraqi government declared victory over ISIL militants in the country
Emirates and flydubai resume flights over Iraqi airspace
UAE airlines Emirates and flydubai have resumed flying over Iraqi airspace en route to other destinations, the airline said on Tuesday.
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Tue 12 Dec 2017 12:35 PM

UAE airlines Emirates and flydubai have resumed flying over Iraqi airspace en route to other destinations, the airline said on Tuesday.

According to an airline spokesperson, the airline has “resumed utilising Iraqi airspace and a very small of our flights overfly Iraqi airspace each day.”

The announcement that flights have resumed comes three days after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared “final victory” over the militants after Iraqi forces re-captured the last areas still under their control near the Syrian border.

“At Emirates, we regularly review our flight operations in line with advice from the relevant regulators and international authorities, and adjust flight paths accordingly,” the spokesperson added. “Safety, Security and operational efficiency will always be the top considerations when planning flight paths.”

Additionally, a flydubai spokesperson said that the airline “has resumed flights over the Eastern structure airways of Iraq” after working closely with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority and the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

“This applies only to overflying and doesn’t include operations to and from Iraq,” the spokesperson added.

A spokesperson for Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways, however, said it the airline had still not resumed flights over Iraq, which it suspended in August 2014, and noted that it is "reviewing the relevant risk assessments" in light of the easing of restrictions by the GCAA and US Federal Aviation Authority, which on December 9 announced that flights carrying a US codeshare can fly over Iraq under certain conditions. 

A number of airlines stopped flying over Iraq in 2014 due to security concerns stemming from the country’s ongoing fight against ISIL militants. Emirates continued operating flights to and from Iraq, although there were several periods of suspensions.

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